The Milwaukee Bucks survived a late game-tying attempt from Kevin Durant to win a low-scoring hard-fought Game 3 86-83 and now trail the series 2-1.
In a game that had a defence-first feel which was reminiscent of the 1990s, Khris Middleton shot the best efficiency among the top scorers in the game.
After averaging 15.0 points in the first two games, going 13-of-43 (30-.2 percent) from the field, Middleton bounced back in this one with 35 points on 12-of-25 shooting from the field and a playoff career-high 15 rebounds.
"We ran a lot of pick-and-roll, the first two games, in Brooklyn. I was able to get my spots, just wasn't making the shot, making the right pass or the right read," Khris Middleton reacted postgame.
"Tonight, I just tried to make the right read and make those shots. I can see what they are giving, just trying to take advantage of that."
It wasn't just the much-improved field goal efficiency and volume scoring but also when he scored. The 6'7" wing took over late, scoring eight of the Bucks' last 10 points including the final pair of free-throws.
CLUTCH. pic.twitter.com/UEzfeAbWTN- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 11, 2021
"Yeah, he made a couple big ones," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said postgame. "Khris able to put us in a spot where we had a chance to win then, Jrue with the big basket late. So, couple of good plays by both those guys."
Along with former two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the duo combined for 68 of the team's total points tally.
Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo combined to score 79 percent of the @Bucks points, the highest percentage of any team's points by any duo in NBA playoff history. pic.twitter.com/xR1xTRdthf- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 11, 2021
In fact, their two-man game was in effect early as Middleton and Antetokounmpo combined for all of the Bucks 30 points in the first quarter as they led by 19 after the first 12 minutes.
"There was a little bit of just setting the tone," Budenholzer said of the Bucks' hot start. "Those two guys, having a big first quarter, they are our leaders. They've been here for a long time, been through a lot together."
"We got to figure out a way to get other guys involved, I think that would have made our night easier," Middleton said in response to being responsible for a bulk of the team's points.
After losing by 49, Milwaukee bounce back to win a sort of 'must-win' Game 3. Now, they got to repeat the result in Game 4 to tie things up when both teams suit up after a couple of days off on Sunday, June 13 at 3:00 p.m ET.
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